POPULATION: ONE Developer BigBox VR Acquired by Facebook
Facebook has made the second acquisition of a VR shooter game development studio with its buying of BigBox VR, the studio behind the battle royale title POPULATION: ONE.
Facebook says it isn’t disclosing the terms of the deal which comes hot on the heels of its April acquisition of Downpour Interactive alongside its tactical multiplayer shooter Onward. The two, Onward and POPULATION: ONE, are currently Facebook’s highest-grossing VR titles on its standalone Oculus Quest VR headset. Two months ago, Facebook announced that six Oculus Quest titles had grossed $10 million in revenues with Facebook now owning at least half of these titles.
POPULATION: ONE was launched late last year and is a first-person shooter (FPS) where a player can team up in groups of three and battle across a large map in a bid to be the last team standing. POPULATION: ONE is very much like Epic Games’ popular battle royale Fortnite in its business model and structure. POPULATION: ONE is currently on the second season of themed content which features free updates as well as cosmetic items locked in its premium battle pass.
This latest acquisition is Facebook’s fifth purchase of a virtual reality game development studio. In late 2019, Facebook acquired the studio behind the highly popular VR rhythm slicing game Beat Saber which has sold four million copies so far. This was followed by Facebook’s acquisition of Sanzaru Games in February 2020. The studio is behind the highly popular PC VR visual powerhouse Asgard’s Wrath.
Facebook then acquired Ready At Dawn in June 2020, the studio behind the Echo VR games. The studio’s Lone Echo II is scheduled for release on PC VR this summer and will likely be the last major Rift title as Facebook shifts its focus to the standalone Quest platform where it has found considerable success. Echo VR is a multiplayer title that also runs a seasonal content structure like that of POPULATION: ONE.
Facebook also revealed that BigBox VR will be operating as an independent studio. A Facebook blog post states that while the studio has big future plans for POP: ONE as well as other projects, they aren’t sharing any details at this time. The blog post also states that POP: ONE will still be supported on all its current platforms following the acquisition.